Wear and Tear by Tracy Tynan

Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life by Tracy Tynan

Competition published on March 10, 2017.

Tracy Peacock Tynan, daughter of the world-famous theatre critic Kenneth Tynan and the author Elaine Dundy, grew up in London and New York during the 1950s and ’60s. Her parents threw lavish parties where style was essential and guests included the biggest Hollywood, theatre and literary legends among them Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Orson Welles, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams and Maggie Smith. As Tynan describes it, her parents were ”trying their best to be the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald of the ’50s.”

In Wear and Tear, Tynan reveals the glamour, secrets and dark side of her parents’ highly stylised world of endless jet-setting and savage fights, the struggles she faced as she tried to take charge of her life, and the happiness she eventually found as a costume designer, writer, wife and mother. She tells her astonishing story through the prism of the clothes which have come to symbolise her turbulent life: her father’s dandy attire, her mother’s mink coat and Pucci dress, clothes-shopping on Oxford Street as a teenager and donning Ossie Clark as a young adult. Her love for fashion eventually inspired her to a career as a Hollywood designer, dressing Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Julie Andrews, Zooey Deschanel and other stars.

Frank, funny and deftly observed, Wear and Tear is an immensely engrossing, charming and eye-opening memoir of an extraordinary life. Using clothes and the capricious trends of fashion as her starting point for each chapter, Tracy provides a luminous, deftly observed recollection of lost glamour, and the threads that bind a family together.

Read an extract


**We have 3 copies of Wear and Tear to give away – scroll down for your chance to win!**



Glenda Worth reviewed for nudge:

Wear and Tear by Tracy Tynan is a memoir filled with extravagance and guilty pleasures. When Tracy was a young girl her parents lived in a time of progressive attitude and lavish parties which she would attend with them, mixing with the biggest Hollywood stars.  From a young girl, Tracy developed a sense of style and her love of clothes and fashion are all too apparent. As an amateur dressmaker myself, the book struck a chord with the determination of Tracy to be an individual and dress in her own way.  Tracy was a privileged girl in many ways meeting many famous people but also having to endure the turmoil of her parent’s relationships and affairs which must have had a negative effect on her. Living in this high society atmosphere influenced Tracy who went on to become a successful costume designer.

Each chapter is cleverly based around an item or items of clothing which influenced Tracy at a time while her parents were flying back and forth across the world attending glittering parties.  Tracy describes in detail growing up in the shadow of Kenneth Tynan, an essentially private man, narcissistic in nature and explains how she made peace with him at the end.
A poignant diary of life during this period, Tracy’s own journey coming of age and forging ahead with her own career whilst trying to deal with the fall out from her parents, expertly written and an interesting read for anyone interested in glamour gossip or high fashion.



‘I was transfixed… Tracy’s opinions about clothes are as distinctive as her father’s…. this is a book that aims to throw off disguises and it reveals a poised, resilient and sympathetic woman.’ (Kate Kellaway, Observer and Guardian Book of the Day)

‘A cracking read!’ (Libby Purves, Midweek, BBC Radio 4)

‘The bible for every boy and girl who grew up preferring go-go boots to dolls. It’s not just the story of what Tracy wore but the tragi-comic ménage à trois of an only child stage-managing her mad, bad parents.’ (Hint magazine)


We have 3 copies of Wear and Tear by Tracy Tynan to give away – for your chance to win, simply fill in the form below:

The Competition is closed.


About the author

Tracy Tynan is a costume designer and writer living in Los Angeles. Her credits include The Big Easy, Blind Date, Great Balls of Fire! and Tuesdays With Morrie. The only child of Kenneth Tynan and Elaine Dundy, Tracy Tynan was brought up in the company of the film and theatre society of the day in her parents’ world of lavish parties, incredible outfits and volatile behaviour. Tynan triumphs in this compassionate memoir masterfully woven to tell the story of her fondest, most difficult and revealing moments.


Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life by Tracy Tynan, published on 23 February, 2017 by Duckworth, in hardback



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